Lunar camera recommendations for an AP130EDT


michael.siedzik@...
 

Hello Everyone,

I'd like to introduce myself, my name is Mike Siedzik and I live in (cold and often cloudy) New Hampshire. My love of the heavens started with an 8" Meade newtonian in the mid 1980s, but after a decade of visual observing the lure of astrophotography lured me in.  I made the fortunate decision to go all in on THE top-of-the-line setup in 1996: an AP130EDT, AP400 (non-goto), telecompressor and a Pentax 6x7. Why mess around with a tiny 35mm "full frame" sensor when you can go 4x as big, right?

My rig served me well for about 5 years, then marriage, kids, job, etc. relegated it to the back of a closet.  Fast forward 20 years and a global pandemic and social distancing had me revisiting an old love of photographing the sky.  Last year I picked up a modded Canon XSi and a Pasill4 on CN as an inexpensive foray into the digital world.  Having cut my teeth with that camera (the AP400 does quite well with unguided 120s subs), I'm ready for the next step.

My next camera will be pointed mostly at the moon, and in the future needs to double as a guide camera (I'll be looking for a new DSO camera further down the line).  I've narrowed my choice down to the ASI462MC or the ASI178MC.  I've seen amazing photos by both of these cameras on astrobin and the like.

I like the 462MC due to its fast shutter speed (136fps) and AR window
I like the 178MC due to its larger sensor (6M resolution and 8.9 diagonal, vs 2M and 6.5mm)

Their prices and pixel sizes are pretty equivalent.  I'm intrigued by the AR window as my site often has poor seeing.  Will the 462MC and a IR850 filter result in crisper images on a 2/5 seeing night?  I'm guessing shooting through an IR850 will just give me a "luminance" like image; all colors filtered out; which seems okay for lunar work.  I like the 178MC for its larger diagonal and more megapixels.  I have programmed both cameras as well as my scopes into Stellarium and both offer plenty of well framed moon shots.  Note that I have a second scope for wide-field and travel, a Tak FC-76 f/8 (and f/6 compressor), as well as a 2x barlow in my quiver.

I apologize for the rambling first post, and look forward to any comments about these cameras (or others) perform on the moon when coupled with 130-class APs.

Clear Skies!
- Mike


thefamily90 Phillips
 

Great to have you back! I started observing visually in 1965 with an interest primarily in the moon,  planets and later, double stars. I started imaging somewhere around 2003 with a toucam pro and K-1 tools. Back then, we didn’t worry about pixel size and all that sort of stuff because the only camera that we knew that would work was the Toucam  pro. Later, as cameras became more sophisticated I moved  to an Atik and later ZWO cameras. For lunar images I now use strictly ZWO mono (MM) cameras. I use color ZWO (CM)  cameras for Jupiter, Saturn and Mars. 
Now, to be honest, there are lots of other folks on this site that can talk to you about chip size and all kinds of things that would be important to you. I have only experimented with cameras, telescopes and Barlows to see what works best for me without doing any calculations regarding chip size. That is probably a holdover from the days when they were no options beyond the Toucam pro. 
Using this empirical method I have ended up taking fairly nice lunar images. For a while I was the Director of the new lunar dome survey for the ALPO, imager for the GLR (Geologic Lunar Researches) headed by Raf Lena resulting in the book “Lunar Domes…”. My images can be found within the book and on the cover. Today, Raf  is the Director of the AL PO lunar dome survey and I am his assistant coordinator.

Today,  I have two ZWO cameras, one here and the other at my farm. The one here is a ZWO 174MM. I have the ZWO 290MM at my Farm. I use it with a Barlow to get to an F ratio of about F/24. 

Hopefully, others will chime in about chip sizes, etc., all over my head. Good luck with your endeavors. I can tell you it’s lots of fun and the Moon has a lot to offer the high resolution imager.

All the Best,

Jim


From: main@ap-ug.groups.io <main@ap-ug.groups.io> on behalf of michael.siedzik@... <michael.siedzik@...>
Sent: Sunday, January 16, 2022 8:30:49 AM
To: main@ap-ug.groups.io <main@ap-ug.groups.io>
Subject: [ap-ug] Lunar camera recommendations for an AP130EDT
 
Hello Everyone,

I'd like to introduce myself, my name is Mike Siedzik and I live in (cold and often cloudy) New Hampshire. My love of the heavens started with an 8" Meade newtonian in the mid 1980s, but after a decade of visual observing the lure of astrophotography lured me in.  I made the fortunate decision to go all in on THE top-of-the-line setup in 1996: an AP130EDT, AP400 (non-goto), telecompressor and a Pentax 6x7. Why mess around with a tiny 35mm "full frame" sensor when you can go 4x as big, right?

My rig served me well for about 5 years, then marriage, kids, job, etc. relegated it to the back of a closet.  Fast forward 20 years and a global pandemic and social distancing had me revisiting an old love of photographing the sky.  Last year I picked up a modded Canon XSi and a Pasill4 on CN as an inexpensive foray into the digital world.  Having cut my teeth with that camera (the AP400 does quite well with unguided 120s subs), I'm ready for the next step.

My next camera will be pointed mostly at the moon, and in the future needs to double as a guide camera (I'll be looking for a new DSO camera further down the line).  I've narrowed my choice down to the ASI462MC or the ASI178MC.  I've seen amazing photos by both of these cameras on astrobin and the like.

I like the 462MC due to its fast shutter speed (136fps) and AR window
I like the 178MC due to its larger sensor (6M resolution and 8.9 diagonal, vs 2M and 6.5mm)

Their prices and pixel sizes are pretty equivalent.  I'm intrigued by the AR window as my site often has poor seeing.  Will the 462MC and a IR850 filter result in crisper images on a 2/5 seeing night?  I'm guessing shooting through an IR850 will just give me a "luminance" like image; all colors filtered out; which seems okay for lunar work.  I like the 178MC for its larger diagonal and more megapixels.  I have programmed both cameras as well as my scopes into Stellarium and both offer plenty of well framed moon shots.  Note that I have a second scope for wide-field and travel, a Tak FC-76 f/8 (and f/6 compressor), as well as a 2x barlow in my quiver.

I apologize for the rambling first post, and look forward to any comments about these cameras (or others) perform on the moon when coupled with 130-class APs.

Clear Skies!
- Mike

--
Jim Phillips


Peter Bresler
 

I think getting high res hign, mag images of the moon is more dependent on seeing and lucky imaging than the camera. You also need an IR filter. I do have a 462 camera.


thefamily90 Phillips
 

I would agree with you on how dependent excellent lunar images are on having good seeing. Lucky imaging? Yes, if you mean I am just lucky when the seeing is good.

JimP 


From: main@ap-ug.groups.io <main@ap-ug.groups.io> on behalf of Peter Bresler via groups.io <PABresler@...>
Sent: Sunday, January 16, 2022 12:57:01 PM
To: main@ap-ug.groups.io <main@ap-ug.groups.io>
Subject: Re: [ap-ug] Lunar camera recommendations for an AP130EDT
 
I think getting high res hign, mag images of the moon is more dependent on seeing and lucky imaging than the camera. You also need an IR filter. I do have a 462 camera.

--
Jim Phillips


ROBERT WYNNE
 

I have a field scope that outperforms most of my other scopes. It having the benefit of a fluorite lens. There is no way to modify the eyepiece as it is proprietary to the scope. I hope one day to image through this scope as faint shadows travelling from the moon's peaks to the foothills can be seen as the moon revolves around the sun. If anyone knows of a fabricator who can re-machine the eyepiece (plastic) to accept a camera and/or eyepiece I am in your debt. I haven't contacted PP yet. -Best, Robert

On 01/16/2022 12:56 PM thefamily90 Phillips <thefamily90@...> wrote:


I would agree with you on how dependent excellent lunar images are on having good seeing. Lucky imaging? Yes, if you mean I am just lucky when the seeing is good.

JimP 

From: main@ap-ug.groups.io <main@ap-ug.groups.io> on behalf of Peter Bresler via groups.io <PABresler@...>
Sent: Sunday, January 16, 2022 12:57:01 PM
To: main@ap-ug.groups.io <main@ap-ug.groups.io>
Subject: Re: [ap-ug] Lunar camera recommendations for an AP130EDT

I think getting high res hign, mag images of the moon is more dependent on seeing and lucky imaging than the camera. You also need an IR filter. I do have a 462 camera.

--
Jim Phillips


thefamily90 Phillips
 

Hmmm. Not sure what you are talking about. 
Fluorite lens better than what? Plastic eyepiece? PP?
Oh well…

JimP 


From: ROBERT WYNNE <robert-wynne@...>
Sent: Sunday, January 16, 2022 4:26:57 PM
To: main@ap-ug.groups.io <main@ap-ug.groups.io>; thefamily90 Phillips <thefamily90@...>
Subject: Re: [ap-ug] Lunar camera recommendations for an AP130EDT
 
I have a field scope that outperforms most of my other scopes. It having the benefit of a fluorite lens. There is no way to modify the eyepiece as it is proprietary to the scope. I hope one day to image through this scope as faint shadows travelling from the moon's peaks to the foothills can be seen as the moon revolves around the sun. If anyone knows of a fabricator who can re-machine the eyepiece (plastic) to accept a camera and/or eyepiece I am in your debt. I haven't contacted PP yet. -Best, Robert
On 01/16/2022 12:56 PM thefamily90 Phillips <thefamily90@...> wrote:


I would agree with you on how dependent excellent lunar images are on having good seeing. Lucky imaging? Yes, if you mean I am just lucky when the seeing is good.

JimP 

From: main@ap-ug.groups.io <main@ap-ug.groups.io> on behalf of Peter Bresler via groups.io <PABresler@...>
Sent: Sunday, January 16, 2022 12:57:01 PM
To: main@ap-ug.groups.io <main@ap-ug.groups.io>
Subject: Re: [ap-ug] Lunar camera recommendations for an AP130EDT

I think getting high res hign, mag images of the moon is more dependent on seeing and lucky imaging than the camera. You also need an IR filter. I do have a 462 camera.

--
Jim Phillips

--
Jim Phillips


Nick Iversen
 

IMX183 (e.g. the QHY183M or QHY183C). Has a small pixel size of 2.4u so you can get maximum resolution for lucky imaging. The sensor size is 15mm diagonal so you can get more of the moon in than those guidecams you have suggested. And when you use it for guiding you will get more guide stars. And the sensor is large enough that you can use it for deep field imaging. It has a high amp glow for long exposures but in my experience calibration removes it.


thefamily90 Phillips
 

Nice info Nick. Good advice. I use  Firecapture for capturing the AVI. 

Lucky imaging. 😂😂😂

As I told my children, I want written on my tombstone:

I’d rather be lucky than good,
And I was!

JimP


From: main@ap-ug.groups.io <main@ap-ug.groups.io> on behalf of Nick Iversen <inoddy@...>
Sent: Sunday, January 16, 2022 5:21:17 PM
To: main@ap-ug.groups.io <main@ap-ug.groups.io>
Subject: Re: [ap-ug] Lunar camera recommendations for an AP130EDT
 
IMX183 (e.g. the QHY183M or QHY183C). Has a small pixel size of 2.4u so you can get maximum resolution for lucky imaging. The sensor size is 15mm diagonal so you can get more of the moon in than those guidecams you have suggested. And when you use it for guiding you will get more guide stars. And the sensor is large enough that you can use it for deep field imaging. It has a high amp glow for long exposures but in my experience calibration removes it.

--
Jim Phillips


Manusfisch
 

Robert, A lot of the field spotting scopes have digital scope adapters so you can screw on a small camera with a fitting that goes over the end of your field scope eyepiece a lot of the birders use them. 

TJF Mobile

On Jan 16, 2022, at 16:27, ROBERT WYNNE <robert-wynne@...> wrote:


I have a field scope that outperforms most of my other scopes. It having the benefit of a fluorite lens. There is no way to modify the eyepiece as it is proprietary to the scope. I hope one day to image through this scope as faint shadows travelling from the moon's peaks to the foothills can be seen as the moon revolves around the sun. If anyone knows of a fabricator who can re-machine the eyepiece (plastic) to accept a camera and/or eyepiece I am in your debt. I haven't contacted PP yet. -Best, Robert
On 01/16/2022 12:56 PM thefamily90 Phillips <thefamily90@...> wrote:


I would agree with you on how dependent excellent lunar images are on having good seeing. Lucky imaging? Yes, if you mean I am just lucky when the seeing is good.

JimP 

From: main@ap-ug.groups.io <main@ap-ug.groups.io> on behalf of Peter Bresler via groups.io <PABresler@...>
Sent: Sunday, January 16, 2022 12:57:01 PM
To: main@ap-ug.groups.io <main@ap-ug.groups.io>
Subject: Re: [ap-ug] Lunar camera recommendations for an AP130EDT

I think getting high res hign, mag images of the moon is more dependent on seeing and lucky imaging than the camera. You also need an IR filter. I do have a 462 camera.

--
Jim Phillips


ROBERT WYNNE
 

Maybe you could direct me to one of those websites?

My Sony RX10 camera has 62 mm internal threads which seem incompatible with every thing in the world. The ASI2600MC-P is not even close to being compatible.

I am close to a total rebuild of the eyepiece/reticle assembly at least so far as coupling add on eyepieces or a camera. But then this is not a project on the front burners.

Best,
Robert

On 01/16/2022 4:33 PM Manusfisch via groups.io <tjfischer653@...> wrote:


Robert, A lot of the field spotting scopes have digital scope adapters so you can screw on a small camera with a fitting that goes over the end of your field scope eyepiece a lot of the birders use them. 

TJF Mobile

On Jan 16, 2022, at 16:27, ROBERT WYNNE <robert-wynne@...> wrote:

I have a field scope that outperforms most of my other scopes. It having the benefit of a fluorite lens. There is no way to modify the eyepiece as it is proprietary to the scope. I hope one day to image through this scope as faint shadows travelling from the moon's peaks to the foothills can be seen as the moon revolves around the sun. If anyone knows of a fabricator who can re-machine the eyepiece (plastic) to accept a camera and/or eyepiece I am in your debt. I haven't contacted PP yet. -Best, Robert
On 01/16/2022 12:56 PM thefamily90 Phillips <thefamily90@...> wrote:


I would agree with you on how dependent excellent lunar images are on having good seeing. Lucky imaging? Yes, if you mean I am just lucky when the seeing is good.

JimP 

From: main@ap-ug.groups.io <main@ap-ug.groups.io> on behalf of Peter Bresler via groups.io <PABresler@...>
Sent: Sunday, January 16, 2022 12:57:01 PM
To: main@ap-ug.groups.io <main@ap-ug.groups.io>
Subject: Re: [ap-ug] Lunar camera recommendations for an AP130EDT

I think getting high res hign, mag images of the moon is more dependent on seeing and lucky imaging than the camera. You also need an IR filter. I do have a 462 camera.

--
Jim Phillips


Roland Christen
 

These are both great color cameras, but for guiding, the camera really needs to be monochrome.

Rolando

-----Original Message-----
From: michael.siedzik@...
To: main@ap-ug.groups.io
Sent: Sun, Jan 16, 2022 7:30 am
Subject: [ap-ug] Lunar camera recommendations for an AP130EDT

Hello Everyone,

I'd like to introduce myself, my name is Mike Siedzik and I live in (cold and often cloudy) New Hampshire. My love of the heavens started with an 8" Meade newtonian in the mid 1980s, but after a decade of visual observing the lure of astrophotography lured me in.  I made the fortunate decision to go all in on THE top-of-the-line setup in 1996: an AP130EDT, AP400 (non-goto), telecompressor and a Pentax 6x7. Why mess around with a tiny 35mm "full frame" sensor when you can go 4x as big, right?

My rig served me well for about 5 years, then marriage, kids, job, etc. relegated it to the back of a closet.  Fast forward 20 years and a global pandemic and social distancing had me revisiting an old love of photographing the sky.  Last year I picked up a modded Canon XSi and a Pasill4 on CN as an inexpensive foray into the digital world.  Having cut my teeth with that camera (the AP400 does quite well with unguided 120s subs), I'm ready for the next step.

My next camera will be pointed mostly at the moon, and in the future needs to double as a guide camera (I'll be looking for a new DSO camera further down the line).  I've narrowed my choice down to the ASI462MC or the ASI178MC.  I've seen amazing photos by both of these cameras on astrobin and the like.

I like the 462MC due to its fast shutter speed (136fps) and AR window
I like the 178MC due to its larger sensor (6M resolution and 8.9 diagonal, vs 2M and 6.5mm)

Their prices and pixel sizes are pretty equivalent.  I'm intrigued by the AR window as my site often has poor seeing.  Will the 462MC and a IR850 filter result in crisper images on a 2/5 seeing night?  I'm guessing shooting through an IR850 will just give me a "luminance" like image; all colors filtered out; which seems okay for lunar work.  I like the 178MC for its larger diagonal and more megapixels.  I have programmed both cameras as well as my scopes into Stellarium and both offer plenty of well framed moon shots.  Note that I have a second scope for wide-field and travel, a Tak FC-76 f/8 (and f/6 compressor), as well as a 2x barlow in my quiver.

I apologize for the rambling first post, and look forward to any comments about these cameras (or others) perform on the moon when coupled with 130-class APs.

Clear Skies!
- Mike


michael.siedzik@...
 

Thanks to everyone for the sage advice.  Guess I hadn't considered mono cameras because I was stuck on thought of filter wheels and the more complex post processing required for DSO.  It didn't dawn on me that single-shot mono is perfect for the moon.

Also, although I was aware of bayer filters and how they work, I didn't quite comprehend how they affected advertised resolution.  For example, an 8MP pixel color camera is really giving you 2MP red, 2MP blue and 4MP green pixels.  A mono camera with the same sensor gives you the full 8MP resolution.  I think that puts the ASI178MM at the top of my list; a nice mix of resolution (6.4MP), sensor size (8.92mm diag), and price ($300).  The QHY183M is also in the running, even at 3x the price.

I'll report back in a few months.  Cheers!